Categories
5-6 yrs (kindergarten) 6-8 yrs (primary) Activities PreK 3-5 yrs (preschool)

Be Kind Reconnect

It’s busy times for families. There are parent conferences underway at schools. It’s the hectic election time and we are bombarded with lots of negative messaging through all media channels. We are in the midst of a beautiful autumn season, but not able to fully enjoy harvest get-togethers due to social distancing guidelines. We thought now would be a good time to reconnect you to one of our activity posts called, Be Kind. This simple activity might be an enjoyable way to spend time together with your children and do something nice for a neighbor, friend, teacher, or relative. With the abundance of fresh apples on these crisp days, it’s also a great way share the harvest with those you care about. Be kind, be safe, and be healthy!

Listen to a Story – Solve a Problem

Grade Level: Pre-K to Grade 1

Description: After listening to a story about kindness, children will talk about the story and then solve a hands-on design problem related to it. Children will use simple at-home materials to create their solution to the problem.

What tools and materials do I need?

  • Computer & internet connection to listen to read-aloud story
  • Assorted art and craft supplies (e.g., paper, crayons or markers, glue, tape)
  • Miscellaneous recyclable materials (e.g., colorful shopping bags, cardboard, empty plastic containers, toilet paper tubes)
  • Simple office supplies (e.g., rubber bands, paper clips, stapler)
  • One piece of whole fruit (i.e., apple, orange, banana, kiwi, peach) or vegetable (i.e., tomato, cucumber, zucchini) or flower “gift” per child [see design challenge in step 3]

What should I do?

  1. Listen to the read-aloud of the storybook, Be Kind, written by Pat Zietlow Miller and illustrated by Jen Hill. Children will learn how to show kindness to others by seeing the many ways that it is demonstrated in the story.
  2. Talk about the story. Share examples of how kindness can be shown in your family or community. Help the children recognize how they have shown kindness. Can they think of times when someone didn’t show kindness? How did it make them feel?
  3. Present the children with the following problem. Modify it as desired to better connect to your family, friends, or neighbors. Change the gift item to whatever you have available (i.e., apple, orange, banana, kiwi, peach) or some flowers or a vegetable from your garden. If the child is capable of making a decision, offer several options and let him/her pick. For example, “What do you think Mrs. Diaz might like better — an apple or a banana or a flower?”
Making gifts for others is a way to show kindness. I know a friend who really likes apples. She is sick. How can we hang an apple on her doorknob to let her know we care about her?
  1. Provide the children with assorted materials to design their solutions. They should creatively design a new product, not simply use an existing object as is (e.g., put the apple in a shopping bag or a flower in a vase). Encourage them to modify the materials they have to make a special gift. Having to think about how to hang it on a doorknob offers a unique engineering challenge that requires some additional problem-solving.
  2. Pose questions as the children solve the problem. Help them to think through the problem and come up with their best working solution. For example:
    • How can you attach it to the doorknob?
    • What would make the part stronger?
    • Is it the right size for the fruit, vegetable, or flower being used as a gift? Is it too big or too small? How can you fix that?
    • How will she know who put it there?

Deliver the gift to the friend when finished. Try to hang it on his/her doorknob. If it doesn’t work as intended, ask the child to modify the design or consider an alternative place to put it. Discuss how it felt to show kindness to another person.

Categories
11-14 yrs (middle school) 14-18 yrs (high school) 5-6 yrs (kindergarten) 6-8 yrs (primary) 9-11 yrs (elementary) Family Resources PreK 3-5 yrs (preschool)

The Calm Spot

Dad/child photo by Tatiana Syrikova from Pexels “a fort!” by ryochiji is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Summary: All children and adults need a space, a place where they can be quiet and calm. These spaces help children handle their feelings, reduce stress level, problem solve, think, and possibly create. You can create simple “quiet spaces” using items in your home (blankets, pillows, etc.). Yogapeutics provides several ideas for creating such a space. It is important to encourage your children to take the lead and/or participate in helping to create this space because it will not only help them be interested in the space but also have ownership of the process. If you live in a house with a lot of people, meaning that you don’t have a great deal of extra space, then you might use a closet, a quiet corner, or even consider making a fort out of a table or chair. 

Questions: Some questions you might want to ask your child.

  • Are there smells that make you feel good (lotions, aromatherapy, spices, etc.)?
  • Are there things you can touch that calm you down (a soft blanket or pillow)?
  • Are their toys that calm you down (fidget spinner, playdough, etc.)?

Age(s): 3-Adult

Tags: 

Health and Wellness

Social-Emotional Learning

Developer:

Beth Powers

Creative Commons License

Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike
CC BY-NC-SA

Credit: ConnectionSpot.org on 10/5/2020

Categories
11-14 yrs (middle school) 14-18 yrs (high school) 5-6 yrs (kindergarten) 6-8 yrs (primary) 9-11 yrs (elementary) Family Resources PreK 3-5 yrs (preschool)

Managing Zoom and Computer Burnout

Introduction

Learning and socializing digitally has become our new normal during the COVID-19 pandemic. Although this format is convenient and may be our best solution, for now, Zoom and other screen-based formats can cause “burnout.” We all like staying connected but we also need to learn ways to cope with the stress on our eyes, brains, and psyches. The articles listed below describe symptoms of burnout: headaches, temper tantrums, lethargy, and even depression. Simple ways to cope include: 1) taking a break, 2) going for a brief walk, and 3) squeezing a squishy ball. By all accounts, Zoom fatigue is real and it’s important to give yourself and your child/children a break. Remember, self-care is paramount right now, and the pandemic has not only provided a greater need to teach kids about this, but it has created an opportunity to lead by example.

Articles

If you are interested in reading an article about what Zoom Fatigue is and how to cope with it:

Zoom Fatigue is Real and Our Kids are Feeling It

Zoom Fatigue is Real, Here’s How to Deal With It

Kids are so Over Zoom and What to do About It

4 Ways to Keep Kids Engaged on Zoom and How to Avoid Zoom Fatigue

VIDEOS

Tags: 

COVID-19, Technology, Social-emotional Learning, Health & Wellness

Age Levels: 

  • Pre-K 3-5 yrs (preschool)
  • 5-6 yrs (kindergarten)
  • 6-8 yrs (primary)
  • 9-11 yrs (elementary)
  • 11-14 yrs (middle school)
  • 14-18 yrs (high school)

Developer:

Beth Powers

Creative Commons License

Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike
CC BY-NC-SA

Credit: ConnectionSpot.org on 09/30/2020

Categories
11-14 yrs (middle school) 14-18 yrs (high school) 5-6 yrs (kindergarten) 6-8 yrs (primary) 9-11 yrs (elementary) Birth-36 months (infant/toddler) Family Resources PreK 3-5 yrs (preschool)

Back to School: What Families Need to Know

Checklists and Guides for Parents, Guardians, and Caregivers

Summary: 

As the school year gets underway, debates rage on about the best learning environment during the pandemic (i.e., virtually, in person, or a mix of both). We are all facing uncertainties. While there are no easy answers, the best way we can face this future is by being informed and asking good questions. There are a few resources out there.  First, UNICEF published resources on a site titled: What will a return to school during the COVID-19 pandemic look like?: What parents need to know about school reopening in the age of coronavirus. This site addresses questions and topics including 1) When and how will schools be reopened?; 2) Is it safe for my child to go back to school?; 3) What precautions should the school be taking to prevent the COVID-19 virus from spreading?; 4) What questions should I be asking my child’s teacher or school administrator?; 5) What should I do if my child has fallen behind?; and 6) What should I do if my child is struggling to get back into “school mode?”.

Likewise, the CDC has compiled a group of checklists and resources, titled Back to School Planning: Checklists to Guide Parents, Guardians, and Caregivers to help you navigate this complex time. This helpful resource addresses multiple scenarios including face-to-face instruction and virtual-online schooling. Special circumstances are also addressed such as supporting children with special needs and dealing with stress and anxiety. Additional resources are included. 

Both Unicef and the CDC are reputable sources that can help put your mind at ease! So, take some time, check them out, and remember that you’re not alone.

Age(s): 

Birth to 36 Months (Infant-Toddler)

PreK 3-5 Years (Preschool)

5 to 6 Years (Kindergarten)

6 to 8 (Primary)

9 to 11 Years (Elementary)

11 to 14 Years (Middle School)

14-18 years (High School)

Tags: 

Back to School

Health and Wellness

Developer:

Beth Powers

Credit: 

Creative Commons License

Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike
CC BY-NC-SA

Credit: ConnectionSpot.org on 08/26/2020

Categories
11-14 yrs (middle school) 14-18 yrs (high school) 5-6 yrs (kindergarten) 6-8 yrs (primary) 9-11 yrs (elementary) Birth-36 months (infant/toddler) Family Resources PreK 3-5 yrs (preschool)

Back to School: What Families Need to Know

Checklists and Guides for Parents, Guardians, and Caregivers

Summary: 

As Fall approaches, debates rage on about how children will return to school (i.e., virtually, in person, or a mix of both). We are all facing uncertainties. While there are no easy answers, the best way we can face this future is by being informed and asking good questions. There are a few resources out there.  First, UNICEF published resources on a site titled: What will a return to school during the COVID-19 pandemic look like?: What parents need to know about school reopening in the age of coronavirus. This site addresses questions and topics including 1) When and how will schools be reopened?; 2) Is it safe for my child to go back to school?; 3) What precautions should the school be taking to prevent the COVID-19 virus from spreading?; 4) What questions should I be asking my child’s teacher or school administrator?; 5) What should I do if my child has fallen behind?; and 6) What should I do if my child is struggling to get back into “school mode?”.

Likewise, the CDC has compiled a group of checklists and resources, titled Back to School Planning: Checklists to Guide Parents, Guardians, and Caregivers to help you navigate this complex time. This helpful resource addresses multiple scenarios including face-to-face instruction and virtual-online schooling. Special circumstances are also addressed such as supporting children with special needs and dealing with stress and anxiety. Additional resources are included. 

Both Unicef and the CDC are reputable sources that can help put your mind at ease! So, take some time, check them out, and remember that you’re not alone.

Age(s): 

Birth to 36 Months (Infant-Toddler)

PreK 3-5 Years (Preschool)

5 to 6 Years (Kindergarten)

6 to 8 (Primary)

9 to 11 Years (Elementary)

11 to 14 Years (Middle School)

14-18 years (High School)

Tags: 

Back to School

Health and Wellness

Developer:

Beth Powers

Credit: 

Creative Commons License

Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike
CC BY-NC-SA

Credit: ConnectionSpot.org on 08/26/2020

Categories
5-6 yrs (kindergarten) 6-8 yrs (primary) 9-11 yrs (elementary) Family Resources PreK 3-5 yrs (preschool)

Talking with Children about Race and Racism

In the wake of racial disparities that were underscored by COVID and the deaths of George Floyd and other Black Americans, families from all racial and ethnic backgrounds are grappling with how to discuss race and racism with their children. These topics are not easy to tackle. Some parents and caregivers have no choice but to discuss race in order to protect their children from racism. Others want to talk with their children to try to engender a sense of equity and fairness. These topics are complex and of course, may vary based on your own racial identity and life experiences. Although there is not a one-size-fits-all way to address such conversations, there are some high-quality resources that can help you engage with your kids. For example, PBS Kids helps you to consider How to Talk Honestly with Children about Racism. Sesame Street Workshop and NPR have a blog series titled Parenting: Difficult Conversations. In this series, they present a blog, Talking Race with Young Children. Writer Jessica Grose, suggests talking about racism with kids early and often and The Bump Blog shares this List of Children’s Books on Race and Antiracism.

Grade Level: Pre-K – Grade 5

Age Levels:

  • Birth-36 months (infant/toddler)
  • Pre-K 3-5 yrs (preschool)
  • 5-6 yrs (kindergarten)
  • 6-8 yrs (primary)
  • 9-11 yrs (elementary)

Tags: 

  • Current Events
  • Race, Racism
  • Social-Emotional Learning
  • Pre-K, Primary

Developer:

Beth Powers

Credit: 

Creative Commons LicenseAttribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike
CC BY-NC-SA

Credit: ConnectionSpot.org on 07/02/2020

Categories
News

Welcome Families and Friends!

Hello! We are so glad you found us! Like you, we have been trying to make sense of the restrictions of quarantine during the pandemic. We have children we love and wish we could shield them from this uncertain time. There are some silver linings. For example, we have time with our loved ones (for better or for worse). AND when we go looking for help, we see there are so many resources out there; Some are better than others, and some are just hard to access. Our goal is to give you “user-friendly” resources and activities reviewed by educational experts. See…we’re giving you another silver lining FOR FREE!

How It Works

We will post AT LEAST one new resource and one new activity weekly on Wednesdays. You can view them online and/or download them in a pdf format, and you can also request that we text you a link. We hope you will join us each week to get new ideas. We’d also love to hear from you with your feedback, questions, and suggestions. 

You can search by topic, also known as tags (math, social skills, etc.). You can also translate the site into a variety of languages for your use or to share with others. Some other exciting features include connecting with us through social media. Please check us out on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. You can also text @joinspot to the number (941) 900-3837 to receive text message updates when we post new content. Feel free to share your experiences with us and share our site with your friends. Most importantly, enjoy time with your children and/or learn some ideas to engage in self-directed activities so you can have some quiet time, too! 

Beth, Karena, Kevin, Lauren & Sharon

The Connection Spot Team